Our way of life is not sustainable. The carbon dioxide footprints of the industrialized countries are way to high, often around ten metric ton per capita, and up to twice that in some cases. Come on, go check wikipedia. It is some scary reading. I’ll wait.
Your back? Looks scary, right? Why does it look like that? Are we really too blind to see the catastrophe looming over us?
I want to believe that the average person in the developed world is aware that something is happening to the climate, or at least the weather. While weather is no good indicate of a changing climate, as climate works over large time scales, it most certainly has the wow factor. Everyone and their mother seems interested in the weather.
At the same time, it is all to easy to say “I can’t change anything, I’m just one man/woman, and the scientists aren’t sure either”. This statement is wrong. First of all, the scientists agree on the fundamentals, even if most of them have their own theories on everything. They are scientists; part of the job is to dissect and criticize each others findings. We know the problem. We know the mechanisms. So let’s get to work.
You are probably as tired as I am of the phrase “every little thing helps”. But it is true. We have so many bad environmental habits today, from our transportation habits to the food we eat, the clothes we were and the electricity we depend on. Switching to greener alternatives in some of these areas can make a big difference. The problem is, there is no sense of accomplishment in switching from a regular to a low power lightbulb. It is much sexier to discuss the new EV, or talk about that Chinese…. monster bus…over twitter.
What I’m trying to get to is that we tend to disregard the simpler changes with potentially big rewards. For example, switching from an oil to pellets heater in the villa can save money AND CO2. Buying local apples instead of “ecological”, transported to you from across the world saves heaps of greenhouse gases. Taking the bus instead of the car to work saves CO2 and gets another vehicle of the road. It all comes down to habits. And habits are hard to break, right? But not impossible.
You can often make green by being green to. The commute is the obvious example. Ride the bike to work twice a week, and you don’t have to pay for gas those days. Not only that, you get in shape and can skip on that expensive gym card if the commute is long enough. Taking the bus, or rail if available is often cheaper then driving if you count all the hidden costs of having a car.
And so on. Making these changes has to be attractive. Not just as in popular or trendy. Attractive to the wallet. Alternatively, it has to be fun. It is not surprising that commute challenges are going well, or recycling challenges, or the 10:10 campaign for that matter. As soon as it get engaging and seems like a fun thing to do, people get interested. Once they have tried, they may get used to it and continue. For example, try this; set up a challenge at work, school or in the neighborhood. Each person signing on will commit to saving zero emission kilometers, ride the bus to work, carpool etc. for three months. The winner gets a prize of some sort. Make the prize big enough to be attractive. I bet you will get many people who think it is silly in the beginning, but then continue out of sheer competitive spirit, going green without even knowing it.
You can do stuff like this with any part of our lives. Food, power, lifestyle etc. It is easier to break a habit if you have help. So try it out. And remember to Commute Greener! and to give us a like on facebook